Sunday, November 11, 2007

Giggsy's vintage display

Ryan Giggs produced one of his best performances of the season so far against Blackburn, prompting Sir Alex Ferguson to suggest the Welshman can "go on for years".

The Reds winger put on a vintage display to help the Reds earn a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford.

"I thought Ryan was absolutely fantastic today, particularly in the second half," said Sir Alex.

"You look at him today and see the freshness he shows, I think he can go on for years. He's been a wonderful servant for us.

Getting the most out of Giggs, who turns 34 at the end of the month, is a balancing act. Sir Alex carefully chooses the right moments to use him and knows when he needs a rest.

"We have to be careful with Ryan these days. He didn't play last Wednesday and we've now got a two week break before we play Bolton. Retiring from international football's helped him, there's no question of that."

Manchester United 2 - 0 Blackburn Rovers

Cristiano Ronaldo’s sucker punch of two goals in two minutes did to Blackburn Rovers what Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool have failed to do this season: achieve victory.

The 2-0 put the Reds three points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League, although Arsenal play Reading on Monday.

There aren’t many sterner tests - physical and football – than Mark Hughes’ high-flying Rovers. But Ronaldo’s double strike in the first half was the crucial blow. And when Blackburn had David Dunn somewhat harshly dismissed early after the break, it was game over.

Sir Alex had also brought Rio Ferdinand, Owen Hargreaves, Ryan Giggs, Wes Brown and Anderson back into the team. And with Wayne Rooney on the sidelines with an ankle injury, Sir Alex called on Louis Saha for his first league start of the season. The Frenchman partnered the energetic Carlos Tevez in attack, and it was the Argentina international that registered United’s first attempt on goal. From Wes Brown’s searching pass forward, Cristiano Ronaldo nodded the ball down into Tevez’s path, but he blazed his shot high into the stands.

Tevez proved a real handful for Blackburn early on, finding space by dropping off Saha. His second shot on goal was more testing for Brad Friedel, who was at full stretch to turn the low, skidding effort round the post.

However Blackburn weren’t without their threatening moments. Unbeaten away from home this season and having already taken points off Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, Mark Hughes’ men are a force to be reckoned with. Just before the 15-minute mark, Patrice Evra cleared the ball after a frenzied scramble in the box.

Then five minutes later they hit the woodwork. Ronaldo was fouled on the edge of the area by David Dunn, but referee Chris Foy waved play on. The Reds were caught off guard, and Christopher Samba smashed the loose ball against Edwin van der Sar’s right post. Seconds later Tevez was pulled up for an innocuous foul on the centre circle. After the unpunished foul on Ronaldo, United’s players were incensed, and the incident roused the Old Trafford crowd.

United pushed forward and from a corner Ronaldo’s left-foot volley was cleared off the line by Dunn. As Blackburn so often do at Old Trafford, they were frustrating the Reds. But Sir Alex’s side are resolute in finding a way through, and would not submit to the suffocating resistance Blackburn use to strong effect. With 12 minutes of the half remaining, Ronaldo climbed above Aaron Mokoena inside the area and directed his header past David Bentley on the post.

He followed it up with a quick-fire second from a rapid breakaway Reds counter attack. Saha retrieved the ball in midfield and fed it to Tevez, who surged forward and curled a pass round the last defender with the outside of his boot, leaving Ronaldo to side-foot the ball past Friedel.

Blackburn’s task was made all the more difficult early in the second half when they were reduced to ten men. Dunn was shown his second yellow card for a late challenge on Saha after earlier being booked for tugging Tevez’s shirt. The two incidents barely warranted an early bath and Hughes was furious with the decision. went in search of his first United hat-trick. And he almost found it after an hour. Shifting the ball quickly onto his left, he struck a rasping 20-yard shot a matter of millimetres past the post.

With two minutes remaining Blackburn had one of their best chances to make an impression on the scoreline, but even then the Reds were switched on and alert. From a corner, Rovers’ tall centre-half Samba headed the ball goalwards. Van der Sar saved the ball on the line, but Evra needed to think quickly to clear the loose ball, which he did, skipping away from danger and blasting the ball clear.

United looked slick in possession and quickly moved into cruise control to see out the 2-0 win, which proved more straightforward than had been predicted. Blackburn will feel they were robbed of the chance to challenge United’s 2-0 lead after Dunn’s sending off. But there can be no grievances with the way the Reds took them apart with two first-half goals that punctured their hopes of adding United to a growing list of clubs that have tripped up against them. Make no mistake, this is a big win. And with United now on a run of ten matches unbeaten, the Reds’ title defence is significantly gathering pace.

Team Line-ups:

Manchester United: Van der Sar; Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Ronaldo, Hargreaves (Carrick, 76), Anderson, Giggs (c); Tevez, Saha (Nani, 68)
Subs not used: Kuszczak, O’Shea, Fletcher

Blackburn Rovers: Friedel; Emerton, Nelsen (c), Samba, Warnock; Bentley, Dunn, Mokoena, Pedersen; McCarthy, Santa Cruz (Derbyshire, 78).
Subs not used: Brown (Gk), Ooijer, Tugay, Berner

Attendance: 75,710

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Celebrating 21 Years At Manchester United

Celebrating 21 years at Man U., Ferguson rues soccer's lost traditions

LONDON (AP) -Imagine Wayne Rooney arriving at Manchester United and being ordered to wash Alex Ferguson's car. Or Cristiano Ronaldo beginning his United career by scrubbing the mud off his teammates' boots.

"I'd say the difference with young players now is that we do everything for them,'' Ferguson said. "The old tradition was that the young players did the boots, washed the manager's car. ... By creating that soft approach or easy approach, you do everything for them. Sixteen year-old boys, not even allowed to clean their own boots!''

Times have changed, but not Ferguson's winning mentality.
Celebrating 21 years as manager of Manchester United on Tuesday, Ferguson is basking in success.

An apprentice toolmaker at the tough shipyards on the River Clyde in Glasgow, Ferguson played part time before turning pro and going on to become the most successful coach in English soccer.

Despite collecting 20 trophies in 20 seasons, including nine Premier League titles, five FA Cups and a European Champions League, Ferguson hungers for more success.

"Last year's (Premier League) championship was as good as the first,'' he said. "Winning is your drug. There are no thoughts about (retiring) at the moment, definitely not.''

When Ferguson took over at Old Trafford in 1986, Jack Nicklaus was the Masters champion, 20-year-old Mike Tyson was about to become the youngest heavyweight champ and a teenage Boris Becker had won Wimbledon.

When Fergie arrived, Rooney had just turned 1. Ryan Giggs, now in his 18th season with the club, was only 12.

United hadn't won the league title since 1967 and was struggling to keep up with Liverpool, Everton and Arsenal in the championship race. The club chose the man who had just broken the Celtic-Rangers stranglehold in Scottish soccer by leading Aberdeen to back-to-back league titles as well as a European Cup Winners Cup triumph.

Ferguson was almost fired after only three years in charge.

A 5-1 loss to neighboring Manchester City and a run of six defeats and two ties in eight games led to calls for his dismissal. When the club drew a tough third-round FA Cup draw with Nottingham Forest, there were expectations that an early loss in the cup would mean Ferguson would go.

United edged Forest 1-0 and went on to win the cup for its first trophy under the Scot. The cup triumph put United back into Europe the following season and the Red Devils won the Cup Winners Cup by beating Barcelona in the final.

Although Leeds United beat United to the league title in 1992, Ferguson's methods had begun to work. With the arrival of the Premier League in '93, United simply took control.

The Red Devils won eight of the first 11 Premier League titles. Despite going three seasons without winning the Premier League, they bounced back to recapture it last season. Right now, United is neck-and-neck with Arsenal at the top of the standings.

Ferguson will be 66 on the last day of 2007 and shows no sign of losing his ability to turn out title-winning teams. He also remains largely hostile toward the media, refuses to talk to the BBC and has little or no contact with Arsenal's Arsene Wenger whenever their teams meet.

Ferguson will maintain that competitive edge until the day he retires.

Until then, the likes of Rooney and Ronaldo can stay clear of car shampoos and shoe brushes.

Shev tips United for glory

Andrei Shevchenko says Manchester United are favourites to win the UEFA Champions League.
The Chelsea striker believes Sir Alex Ferguson has pulled together a squad that is more than capable of winning European football's biggest prize.
"For me they are one of the favourites," Shevchenko told the Daily Star.
"They got to the semi-finals last year and have really strengthened in the summer by buying Anderson, Nani, Carols Tevez and Owen Hargreaves.
"They have the squad to do it.


"They have two of the world's best young players in Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, but the player who most impresses me is Paul Scholes.
"He is United's most important player, he makes most things happen on the field. He is a legend, as is Ryan Giggs. The older players help guide the young players and give them balance."
The Ukrainian also believes Ronaldo can emulate Kaka's performances in last season's competition and bring the trophy back to Old Trafford.
The former Milan hit-man added: "Ronaldo is a player who I enjoy watching and he will get even better. He is also so skilful and quick but also physically strong.
"Last season it was Kaka with Milan who dominated the Champions League, and this year it could be Ronaldo who does that with United."

Rooney: I didn't enjoy it

Rooney: I didn't enjoy it

Wayne Rooney didn’t enjoy the 4-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv - he felt the Ukrainians came to Old Trafford without any intention of attempting to achieve a result.

The 21-year-old Reds striker got on the scoresheet, but he described the match as “like a training match”.

“We're delighted that we’re through and maybe we can rest a few players in the next two games,” he said.

“It was difficult though because they didn’t want to play. It spoilt the game and I didn’t really enjoy playing in it. It was one of those nights but we did a good job and got the win.

“It was like a training session, they came and showed no enthusiasm to play the game. At times we played some good football, but it was a slow game. The main thing, though, was that we won the game.”
Rooney was pleased with the contribution of young defenders Danny Simpson, Gerard Pique and Jonny Evans, who were all given a chance to shine.

“A few lads came in and did really well – Simmo, Gerard Pique and Jonny Evans got good experience. That will help them in years to come and I’m sure they’ll thrive on that.”

And for the rest of the squad it’s a continuation of the good form the team has been producing in recent weeks. “We’re really confident at the moment anyway,” he added. “We’re playing some good football and we just want to keep that up.”

Manchester United 4 - 0 Dynamo Kyiv

7 November 2007.

United saw off Dynamo Kyiv and secured a spot in the Champions League Last 16 relatively unchallenged at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

Gerard Pique, Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo found the net in a comfortable and comprehensive 4-0 victory that could have been even more convincing, but for several spurned chances.

While the game in Kyiv witnessed almost care-free attacking football from both sides, this tie was laced with an air of inevitability; Dynamo’s expectations seemed dimmed by their lack of success so far in Group F, while United’s sole aim of reaching the knockout stages was sought efficiently. In that sense, it was a job very well done, and young players like Danny Simpson, Gerard Pique and Jonny Evans earned valuable experience.

Sir Alex made five changes to the team that faced Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, but there was no place in the starting line-up for Louis Saha, who took up a place on the bench, while Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves were left out entirely.

Despite maximum points from the first three games in Group F, however, this wasn’t a midway breather for United. Sir Alex has designs on lifting the trophy this season and expects qualification to be achieved at its earliest available point. “We’re in a strong position and I have the feeling this team is ready to do well in Europe,” he wrote in his programme notes. “We’ve had disappointments in the Champions League, but I really believe we can go all the way.”

An imposing thought for Dynamo, who arrived at Old Trafford without a point in Group F or indeed a victory in their last ten Champions League games. And with assistant coach, and former Arsenal defender, Oleg Luzhny taking the reins due to head coach Jozsef Szabo’s illness, their preparations were hardly ideal.

The visitors set out solely to strike on the break, and it garnered one or two early chances. Brazilian midfielder Carlos Correa tried his luck from distance in the opening seconds, before turning provider for Tiberiu Ghioane, who broke from the left and tested Edwin van der Sar with a low shot.

For United, it was an almost relaxed start. Ronaldo had the Reds’ first shot on goal when he flung a leg at Nani’s corner and sent his volley narrowly over the bar. But it was still an uncharacteristically slow start.

Rooney attempted to raise the pace. After failing to get a penalty for an apparent elbow by Vladyslav Vaschuk on 19 minutes, he nearly played in Nani for the opener. Controlling Darren Fletcher’s lofted pass, he slid the ball across the face of goal, but Nani’s shot was blocked by Serhiy Fedorov. Clearly still incensed by earlier foul, Rooney raced back into United’s half in search of possession, but a late challenge on Artem Milevskiy earned him a booking.

United were in command of the ball and gradually began to get going. Fletcher, impressive alongside Michael Carrick in the middle, was next to test Olexandr Shovkovskiy in the Dynamo goal. Pape Diakhate closed him down quickly on the edge of the area and his shot ran straight through to the Kyiv keeper.

Rio Ferdinand may be United’s top-scoring defender this season, but his replacement for the night, Gerard Pique, showed he is equally as dangerous in front of goal as the breakthrough finally arrived after 31 minutes. From Ronaldo’s free-kick, Carrick’s glancing header deflected of Tevez, but 20-year-old Catalan centre-back Pique rose highest to neatly nod in his first goal in a Reds shirt.

Nemanja Vidic, his central defensive partner, almost doubled the lead moments later when his header looped just wide from Nani’s corner. But United didn’t have to wait long for goal number two. The effervescent Carlos Tevez harangued Correa for the ball just inside the Reds’ half, then charged up field and after a one-two with Rooney he smashed the ball high into the net.

At the break Tomasz Kuszczak replaced van der Sar and was immediately called into action in the second half when Dynamo substitute Rincon fizzed in a shot from the edge of the area. The Polish goalkeeper had to be alert and he saved superbly.

Tevez should have scored a second just before the hour after a great attacking move from the Reds. Ronaldo’s pass scythed through the Dynamo defence and Rooney’s square pass left the Argentinian with time and space to shoot, but he elected to turn onto his left, and the opportunity passed.

Dynamo looked far more dangerous with Rincon on the field, and he was just a fraction away from latching onto Marjan Markovic’s cross on 61 minutes.

United seemed capable of turning up the pressure whenever required and Tevez again went close to his second of the night. Evra turned adroitly in the box and cut the ball back for the 23-year-old forward, but his shot was blocked and Danny Simpson’s follow-up was saved by Shovkovskiy.

Rooney put the tie well and truly out of reach 15 minutes from time. The Reds front man calmly side-footed in his eighth goal of the season from Nani’s perfect cross. But the pick of the bunch was left to Ronaldo with a minute left on the clock.

Latching onto Nani’s pass, Ronaldo turned inside to beat Diakhate and then unleashed a powerful drive into the far corner to complete a comprehensive 4-0 win.

Team Line-ups

Manchester United: Van der Sar (Kuszczak, 46); Simpson, Pique (Evans, 73), Vidic, Evra; Ronaldo, Carrick, Fletcher, Nani; Rooney, Tevez (Saha, 67).
Subs not used: Brown, Anderson, O’Shea, Eagles.

Dynamo Kyiv: Shovkovskiy; Markovic, Diakhate, Fedorov, El Kaddouri; Ghioane, Vaschuk, Correa; Gusev (Rebrov, 46), Milevskiy (Bangoura, 76), Rotan (Rincon, 46).
Subs not used: Rybka, Gavrancic, Ninkovic, Dopilka.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Ferguson: I Can't Believe It

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes his side threw away a game they should have won.
Loss Of Concentration

The Red Devils twice allowed Arsenal to come back from behind to earn themselves a 2-2 draw, first after Ryan Giggs decided not to clear the ball inside the box, and then when they lost their bearings in injury time.

Poor marking from Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic also played a part, and Sir Alex Ferguson was unimpressed.

"I can't believe it," he said after the game "We have thrown it away.

"It was a lack of concentration, particularly for their first goal. We should have cleared it towards the corner flag, but didn't.

"Then in the second, the ball took a faint touch and went across the face of goal, was sent back in at the back post, and then was over the line. We lost our bearings."

Indeed, the defenders were caught ball watching as William Gallas found himself in acres of space to volley in from six yards out.

Better Chances

At the other end, though, Manchester United created chances, and Ferguson recognized that.

"We played some good football. It was a great piece of football between Saha and Evra, and a great pass for Ronaldo [for United's second].

"Arsenal had some good possession, but I think we had the better chances during the game.

"There was a good chance for Gallas which Van der Sar saved, but other than that I don't think there was a lot of danger in the first half.

"Ryan had a great chance in the first half, Ronaldo of course, Wayne had a good header in the second half. I think we created a lot of chances. I am happy with the display on that front."

"The second time when we took the lead, it was looking like we could win this," he continued. "We were controlling the game, but one cross took a faint touch across the face, was sent back in from the back post, and it was over the line."

"I thought we had done it, but this is football," he concluded.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Manchester United 4 vs Boro 1

Video goals between Manchester United vs Middlesbrough. Another beautiful goal from Nani and spectacular combination Tevez and Rooney. Manchester United won 4-1

Classic video Man Utd vs Arsenal

Ryan Giggs great goal in 1999 FA Cup semi-final re-match VS Arsenal.One of the best goals of all time. Arsenal had a superb defense in the late 90's, shows what quality Giggs has.
That was the moment in the treble winning season (98-99) that I knew united where going to do it. Giggsy is a world class player. That was the best goal I have ever seen, he walked through arsenals defence like as if they were not even there. WORLD CLASS.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Six of the best: Man U v Arsenal

1. Who could forget the infamous Battle of Old Trafford" in 2003 when Ruud Van Nistelrooy's missed penalty sparked a mass brawl at the end of the game?

2. Then there was Thierry Henry's sensational 30-yard thunderbolt which sailed over Fabien Barthez's head to cap an astonishing 1-0 victory for the Gunners at Highbury in October 2000?

3.And who could forget Sylvain Wiltord famously scoring the goal which sealed a 1-0 win and clinched the Premiership title in Manchester United's own back yard in May 2002?

4. But the Gunners have been on the wrong end of a couple of hammerings from the Red Devils, with the 6-2 League Cup defeat at Highbury in 1990... (kalau tak silap lee sharpe score hattrick game nehh) Sharpe..

5. ... and the 6-1 Premiership mauling at Old Trafford highlights under Alex Ferguson's reign.

6.Yet the most famous clash between the two is perhaps the Semi-Final clash at Villa Park which saw Peter Schmeichel save a Dennis Bergkamp penalty in injury time and prevent Arsenal going on to a possible 'Double' that season. Instead, the game went to Extra Time and a Ryan Giggs wonder goal shot Manchester United into the FA Cup Final and the Red Devils' later sealed a famous 'Treble' of League, FA Cup and Champions' League in 1999.

Boss ready for key clash

31/10/2007 09:50, Report by Steve Bartram
Sir Alex Ferguson admits Saturday's trip to the Emirates Stadium could be a key clash in this season's Barclays Premier League title race.

Table-topping Arsenal and second-placed United are separated by just goals scored going into the match, with both sides in top form.

Having seen the Reds score four times in four consecutive matches, however, Sir Alex is confident that his side are facing the leaders at the right time.

"Everything is coming together, as I thought it would, and in good time to take on Arsenal in what could be a key match in our title defence," he is quoted as telling the Daily Star.

"It's still an open race but Arsenal have had a great start and they're the ones we are chasing at the moment. The main thing is I know we will chase them with great fervour and determination."

Arsene Wenger's side have confounded their critics this season with some superb displays en route to leading the pack, and Sir Alex admits they are genuine contenders for United's crown.

"I know challenging for a title is a new experience for a lot of their players, but some of them have been there before and the manager has, and that is a big help," he said.

"People said the same about us last year, but we led the league for three-quarters of the season, so I don't think it's a handicap."

Speculation 'facts'

Player: Dimitar Berbatov
From: Tottenham Hotspur
To: Manchester United
Cost: £ 20 million
Source: People
Likely?: 3/5

This is one rumour that simply won’t go away.

Despite Manchester United’s forwards playing exceptionally well over the past
month and the fact that Martin Jol has now left Tottenham Hotspur, Dmitar
Berbatov is still being linked with a move to Old Trafford. That new boss Juande
Ramos is apparently looking to take with him at least a couple of his star players
at Seville – particularly Daniel Alves and Fredie Kanoute – which would set
Tottenham back some ₤35 million has added fuel to these rumours.

Tottenham will have undoubtedly promised Ramos funds to remodel the squad,
yet the need to cash in on some players probably remains. Few are as
marketable as Berbatov.

Despite a slow start to the season, his performances last year are very much
fresh in people’s minds and once he finds himself in a more competitive
environment he would probably return back to form. Which is why the player
himself might look favourably at any potential transfer.

With a new manager now in place, it will take at least a couple of years before
they are looking for long term success. Time that Berbatov might feel he doesn’t
have and which he could save with a move to a club of United’s stature.

Rio Doubtful For Top Of The Table Clash

Rio Ferdinand is doubtful for Manchester United's top of the table clash with Arsenal on Saturday following fears that he has suffered a recurrence of a groin injury.
The England centre-back, who has been in impressive form this season, is believed to have gone for a scan after arriving at United's Carrington Training Ground on Monday.

Ferdinand was replaced by Gerard Pique with 20 minutes left on the clock in Saturday's thumping 4-1 win over Middlesbrough, but it will hoped that he is available for the match against top of the table Arsenal at the Emirates. United have had numerous injury problems this season and today learned that Paul Scholes will be ruled out until February. Ferdinand's solid defensive partnership with Nemanja Vidic had been a key feature of United's return to form as the Premiership champions have only conceded four Premiership goals all season.

Manchester United

From wikipedia.

Manchester United Football Club is an English football club, based at the Old Trafford stadium in Trafford, Greater Manchester, and is arguably the most popular football club in the world, with over 50 million supporters worldwide average attendances at the club have been higher than any other team in English football for all but six seasons since 1964-65.

The club is also one of the most successful in English football for over twenty years, since the 1986-87 season, they have won 18 major honours, which is more than any other Premier League club. They are the Premier League's reigning champions, and have won the Premier League/Football League 16 times. In 1968, they became the first English club to win the European Cup, beating S.L. Benfica 4–1, and they won a second European Cup in 1999. They also hold the record for the most FA Cup titles with 11.

Since the late 1990s, the club has been one of the richest in the world, and until recently had the highest revenue of any football club for several years running. As of 2007, the club has the fourth largest turnover in club football, but remains the most profitable club based on operating income. Manchester United also remains the most valuable club in the world. The club is a founding member of the G-14 group of Europe's leading football clubs.

Sir Alex Ferguson has been manager of the club since 6 November 1986. The captain is Gary Neville, who succeeded Roy Keane in November 2005.